Calathea Dottie (also known as Calathea Roseopicta “Dottie” or Goeppertia Roseopicta “Dottie”) is a beautiful and unique Calathea variety characterized by its rounded, dark green leaves and bright pink variegation.
While their appearance may contribute to the belief that Calathea Dottie is tough to care for, they have very similar needs to all broad-leaved Calathea varieties. Therefore, if you replicate your conditions to the tropical forests where Calatheas grow naturally, your Calathea Dottie will grow and flourish.
All About Calathea Dottie
Calathea Dottie was known to belong to the Calathea genus but recently has been reclassified as the Goeppertia genus, along with several other Calathea varieties. Despite the reclassification, the Dottie is still affectionately referred to as the Calathea Dottie.
The Dottie is a variation of the Roseopicta variety. It has nearly identical leaf structures and variegation patterns, except for its color.
While the ‘medallion’ is a stark green with a white variegation pattern on the front, Calathea Dottie’s leaves are a darker green, giving it a nearly black appearance. In addition, the variegation is a bright pink color instead of white.
Like the Roseopicta, Calathea Dottie has very dark purple backsides to their leaves. This is because it belongs to the Marantaceae family, also known as Maranta or Prayer Plants. Growing on the tropical forest floor in South America, this family of plants will bow their leaves in a prayer-like position to absorb as much of the filtered sunlight from above through the forest canopy. This movement is scientifically known as Nyctinasty.
In the wild, Calathea and Geoppertia varieties grow in moist, humid environments that are typically low to medium light levels. Therefore, you should always consider these conditions when caring for a Calathea Dottie outside of its natural environment to help your Calathea Dottie grow and thrive.
How To Care For Calathea Dottie
|Light||200-400 Foot Candles (medium to low light tolerant). Too much light will burn the leaves or cause the patterns on their foliage to fade.|
|Watering||Water when the soil is nearly dry but not completely dry. If using a moisture meter, water when the meter reads 2.|
|Soil Mix||Soil should be a mixture of moisture retention properties with some drainage properties mixed in to prevent root rot.|
|Temperature||65ºF (18ºC) to 85ºF (30ºC)|
|Pot||Ceramic, Plastic Nursery Pot, or self-watering pot are the best for Calathea Dottie.|
Water is the part of Calathea Dottie care where people tend to have the most difficulty.
Calatheas need moist soil conditions to prevent their leaves from turning yellow or crispy. Water your Calathea Dottie when the soil is nearly dry but not completely dry.
If you need to figure out how to tell when your Calathea Dottie is ready for a drink, getting a moisture meter will help to read how moist the soil is. If the moisture meter reads around 2, it is a good time to water your Calathea Dottie.
What Type of Water is Best for Calathea Dottie?
Calathea Dottie is also very sensitive to chemicals and minerals in tap water. This means that you may find crispy tips on your Calathea Dottie if you water it with chemically treated tap water.
Instead, use filtered water, rainwater (if you can source it), or even freshwater fish tank water, which has plenty of nutrients.
Calathea Dottie is also sensitive to cold temperatures. Ensure that when you water your Calathea, you only give them room temperature water instead of cold water. Cold water can shock the roots and send your entire Calathea Dottie into shock.
For best results, give your Calathea Dottie 60% to 80% humidity, but at the very least, you should provide your Calathea Dottie with humidity levels around 50%.
Because of transpiration, Calathea Dottie will need plenty of moisture to replenish the loss from their large, round leaves.
Getting a humidifier is the most efficient way to boost humidity, but you can also keep your Calathea Dottie in a humid room in your home, like your bathroom or kitchen.
If you need to figure out what the humidity levels are in your space, you can purchase a hygrometer which will give you a reading of the humidity levels.
Keep your Calathea away from air vents, drafty windows, and dehumidifiers to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
While most Calathea varieties tend to be low light tolerant, Calathea Dottie is particularly adept at withstanding a lower light environment.
Calathea Dottie has very dark green foliage that can almost appear black on the tops of its leaves, and the undersides of its leaves are a deep purple color. This is because the leaves have a surplus of chlorophyll to aid photosynthesis. In addition, the bottoms of the leaves can reflect any tiny morsels of light to the rest of the plant so that it can survive quite well on low light levels.
Calatheas do best with 400 Foot Candles of light for consistent growth but can survive just fine with as low as 200 Foot Candles for minimum growth levels. Calathea Dottie will continue to grow even on the lower end of this scale, thanks to its dark leaves.
Calathea Dotties can tolerate a few hours of direct light. However, this direct sunlight should be morning light which is much gentler than the strong afternoon sun.
If your Calathea Dottie receives too much light, the leaves will begin to fade and lose their dark green color or pink margins. Excessive direct sunlight can even cause the leaves to burn.
Much like Calatheas are very sensitive to chemicals in water, you should be very careful about the type of fertilizer you use on your Calathea Dottie.
Calathea Dottie is very susceptible to fertilizer burn so when you fertilize your Calathea, make sure you dilute the fertilizer with water significantly.
If you purchase a Calathea Dottie and tons of tiny beads are on top of the soil, those are likely slow-release fertilizer beads. In this case, you shouldn’t fertilize your Calathea again as it will lead to fertilizer burn.
Furthermore, if there are an excessive amount of beads, you can scoop them out.
Signs of fertilizer burn include dark brown to even black leaf tips that will curl tightly upwards.
Soil & Potting
When it comes to Calathea Dottie, you will want to choose a soil mixture that is well-draining but not too chunky because you will want to retain some moisture in the soil.
While Calatheas need plenty of moisture, any houseplant can become overwatered, so adding some drainage elements like orchid bark or perlite is essential.
Since Calathea Dottie is like a typical Calathea, it will thrive with our recommended Calathea Soil Mix.
Choosing which pot works best for your Calathea can be a big decision, as it will dictate how frequently you water your Calathea Dottie.
For example, selecting an unglazed terracotta pot is not typically a great choice for Calathea Dottie, as it will leech the excess moisture away from the soil.
Instead, Calathea Dottie is much better suited to a ceramic pot or a plastic pot. They are better at retaining moisture, as long as those pots have drainage holes.
Drainage holes will allow the excess water to escape the pot, preventing root rot. Not only that, but toxins, bacteria, and fungi will need to drain out of the pot once it filters through the soil.
Allowing excess water and toxins to sit at the bottom of the pot will subject your Calathea Dottie to infection, rot, and many other problems.
If you find a beautiful ceramic pot that does not have drainage holes, a great option would be to plant your Calathea in a plastic pot (also called a nursery pot) and place that pot inside the pot.
Then, when it’s time to water your Calathea Dottie, you can remove the plastic pot, water your Calathea Dottie, allow the water to drain through the drainage holes and return it to the ceramic pot.
A self-watering pot is another great option for Calathea Dottie, as long as you are diligent about filling the water reserve.
Learn more about the best types of pots for Calatheas here.
You can propagate your Calathea Dottie through division.
As your Calathea Dottie matures, you will notice that several Calathea Dottie plants may grow within your pot. You can separate them gently by hand or by using pruning tools.
Propagation by division is often very successful as the additional plants should already have root formation. In this case, you can pot the new plant into the soil right away.
Propagating your Calathea Dottie should be done as gently as possible. All Calathea species can develop transplant shock if not handled carefully.
Symptoms of transplant shock could include drooping, curling leaves, or leaves turning yellow and dying off to conserve energy.
If this happens, give your Calathea warm conditions and moist soil and refrain from making further drastic changes. Give your Calathea Dottie plenty of time to recover, and it will bounce back.
Growth Rate & Repotting
Since Calathea Dottie is a medium to low-light houseplant, its growth rate tends to be slower than other Roseopicta varieties, often because people will place it in lower-light situations.
New growth is often a sign that your Calathea is thriving in its conditions. Calathea Dottie can produce several new leaves each year, up to as many as 1-2 leaves per month during the growing season.
If you give your Calathea Dottie medium indirect light, warm temperatures and high humidity levels, it will likely grow much faster.
If your Calathea Dottie’s roots are poking through the drainage hole, you should repot them.
When choosing a new pot, make sure that it is at most 2 inches larger in diameter than the previous pot, as it may take some time for your Calathea Dottie to grow into its new pot.
If your Calathea Dottie has not outgrown its pot after two years, it’s best to replace the soil, as it will lose its nutrients over time.
Common Problems & Pests
Calathea Dottie has highly delicate and sensitive foliage, leaving them quite vulnerable to some common Calathea pests and problems. Fortunately, they can be prevented and treated in most cases, particularly if you catch them early.
One of the most common types of pests that is attracted to Calathea Dottie is spider mites.
Spider mites can be identified by their infamous webbing between the stems and under the leaves. Make sure you check in on your Calathea Dottie frequently by turning over the backs of its leaves to monitor for spider mites.
It never hurts to treat your Calathea for spider mites from time to time, even if you do not see any visible mites.
Thrips are another deadly pest that can cause a lot of damage to your Calathea Dottie in a very short amount of time.
It can be even more challenging to spot thrips on Calathea Dottie, as adult thrips are narrow black insects that can camouflage quite well against Calathea Dottie’s dark green leaves.
Keep an eye out for thrip larvae, which are specks that crawl around on the leaves. And monitor any new growth on your Calathea Dottie, as thrips will attack new leaves.
If a new leaf is unfurling with damage, that is typically the first indicator that your plant has a pest problem.
You can treat thrips with neem oil, insecticidal soap, or even diluted hydrogen peroxide. Always test any new chemicals or solutions on your Calathea Dottie on a single leaf first, just in case of an adverse reaction.
Calathea Dottie Drooping Leaves
It might be shocking to find your Calathea Dottie looking completely deflated with drooping leaves.
When Calathea Dotties reach this state, it may look like the entire plant is dying. If this happens, check the soil. In almost all cases, the soil has completely dried out, and it simply needs a drink. Once watered properly, your Calathea will fully recover. However, you may notice some yellow or brown leaves as a side effect.
Occasionally, drooping can also be caused by a significant pest problem or overwatering, so check the soil and leaves of your Calathea before taking action. If your Calathea Dottie’s leaves are curling, here’s how you can fix the problem!
Brown tips in Calathea Dottie are typically the result of water and moisture issues.
Calatheas have a process called transpiration, where water evaporates from their leaves, which is how tropical forests can maintain higher humidity levels. If that moisture is not replenished, however, Calatheas will allow portions of their leaves to die off to reduce the surface area.
Calathea Dotties have a very similar leaf structure to the Roseopicta or Medallion. However, they have broad leaves with a large surface area. As a result, they may be more prone to developing brown tips if they do not receive adequate humidity levels and sufficiently moist soil.
People often confuse fungal spots on their Calathea Dottie with brown tips. And they wonder what they may be doing wrong if their Calathea Dottie develops brown or yellow spots on the leaves, even in a high-humidity environment.
The differentiation between a fungal spot or infection and brown tips is that the fungal infection may develop in the middle of the leaf instead of starting at the tip and working its way inward.
Calatheas have very delicate foliage, so they may develop fungal issues any time there is a lesion on the leaf or stem.
This may happen due to a previous pest problem, damage or injury to the leaf, or even misting.
Misting can be a great way to boost humidity around your plant, but if the water sits on the leaf, it may cause a lesion, resulting in a fungal infection.
Calathea Dotties have large leaves, making it relatively easy for droplets to pool on the leaf during misting, so this is something you will have to take care of to prevent.
While you cannot eliminate any existing fungal damage, you can prevent it from spreading to other leaves by treating your Calathea Dottie with a fungicide solution.
Yellow leaves are another common problem most Calathea Dottie owners experience. A yellow leaf is a dying leaf, and leaves will turn yellow and drop for various reasons, including water issues, temperature issues, and pest issues.
In some cases, the older leaf may shrink and die off as part of its natural life cycle.